My life, in general, is good. I can’t complain — nor should I.
Still, lately it’s felt like I am going through the motions: doing my daily tasks, completing my daily routine under a cloud — a dark and ominous cloud.
Summer has been good and relaxing and sunny. My family is well. Still the sunshine doesn’t feel as bright as usual. The days feel shadowed, somehow, by something — sadness, but not sadness. Dismay, perhaps, or fate or gloom.
It’s hard to explain, but easy at the same time. I can sum it up in one word: coronavirus.
COVID-19 has changed our daily lives — our individual lives and our lives as a nation. I have always believed — and continue to believe — that I am privileged to have been born in the United States. And I’ve never feared for our future like I do now. In the last four months I have seen changes I never could have imagined. And so have you, so you understand.
What will the next four or five months bring to our country? No one can answer the question, and that’s what keeps me up at night. I don’t want my granddaughter to grow up in a place where the freedoms are significantly less than those that I grew up with.
I pray for the future. For my son starting college. For my daughter soon to give birth to her second child. For my sons and son-in-law who are unemployed because of COVID. For my granddaughter and soon-to-be grandson. For my dad who doesn’t understand what is happening or the concept of COVID. For everyone. For each of you reading this.
I don’t mean to be too heavy. I know each of us is living this reality of finding a new normal when much of our day doesn’t feel anything like normal. I know I am not alone.
Segue now to the positive. Mother Nature is nothing short of amazing.
A few days ago, I was sitting on my boat on the lake, feeling the COVID blues. The sun was shining brightly overhead, but I’m not sure I fully appreciated it. I had an insulated cup with ice and water so I was assured of a cool drink for hours. Anyone, under those conditions, should feel gratitude, not melancholy.
I’m certainly not proud of this admission. I’m only being honest.
And then, unexpectedly, up ahead on the lake were five loons. Five! Two adult couples and one baby, all floating together. We approached slowly and they didn’t dive, but remained swimming near the pontoon. At this same moment, a bald eagle soared overhead. As quick as you can say, “Dive” the eagle did just that and came off the surface of the lake with a fresh fish in its talons. We watched as the eagle flew to its nest to feed its eaglets. Suddenly a sense of peace came over me.
When we returned from the lake, I checked on a small finch nest that is in one of our bushes. Earlier this summer there were three blue speckled eggs that all disappeared unexpectedly. We mourned for mom and dad finch. And then, a few days ago, we saw there were two new eggs in the nest. Our finches didn’t give up. In spite of adversity, they laid new eggs and are trying again.
I believe I have a lot to learn from birds.
The loons look after their young, even if they are not official family. The eagles nest high in the trees and hunt day and night to take care of their fledglings. The finches aren’t stymied by death of their first batch of eggs. They just keep going, and trying.
And so should we.
We should keep going. And trying. We should hope and pray for the clouds to be lifted. Life will return to normal, even if it is a new normal. We will. We can. Let’s do this.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.